Mordecai Lee is a native of Milwaukee who attended UWM. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UW-Madison and received a M.P.A. and Ph.D. in Public Administration from Syracuse University.
From 1972-76, he served in Washington, D.C. as a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and then as a legislative assistant for a Wisconsin congressman.
Lee was elected to the State Assembly from Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood in 1976, 1978 and 1980. He was elected State Senator from Milwaukee's northwest side in 1982 and again in 1986. He chaired the Senate's Environmental Resources Committee. Milwaukee Magazine named him one of 'Wisconsin's Ten Best Legislators.'
In 1990, he was appointed executive director of a nonprofit agency affiliated with Milwaukee's Jewish community. He represented Milwaukee's Jewish community in matters relating to legislation and public affairs, serving as its media spokesperson.
In 1997, Lee joined UWM as an Assistant Professor of Governmental Affairs.